The current pandemic has brought supply chain to the top of concerns for most midsize businesses. We have seen demand volatility spikes; and increase in demand for medical equipment and vital necessities plus a huge drop in demand for luxury items such as new cars.

For many supply chain organisations, their capacity to meet increased demand has been limited with the closure of plants and a shortage of workers due to country-specific restrictions. Logistics networks have also been affected, so it often takes a lot longer to get goods across oceans and into stores.

And then there’s the added complication of addressing the human risk factors. How to manage changeovers and adjust factory lines to comply with within social distancing guidelines? How to meet demand when production is being slowed down by the need to clean equipment more thoroughly and frequently?

This challenging mix of demand volatility and capacity constraints is causing companies to look for intelligent technologies which can address their current issues and also put them in a strong position to deal with future disruptions to the supply chain.

An intelligent approach to meet current challenges

United VARs members have been sharing stories of how businesses are rising to the challenges; retooling and innovating their way out of the crisis.

For example, many midsize manufacturers with 3D printers have retooled them to make medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). An Italian engineering company used their 3D printing capabilities to create a valve which attaches onto a type of snorkelling mask to make ventilators which help save lives.

We are seeing more companies adopt cloud-based SAP planning and analytics solutions. In such an uncertain, fast-changing environment it is becoming essential to have access to real-time data and to have the ability to make simulations and decisions on the fly, even when they are working from home.

4 Ways to Improve Resiliency

To strengthen your supply chain and future-proof it against further disruptions, consider technology projects which can give you:

1.Visibility of your entire supply chain: so you can see where the potential vulnerabilities are and how you can address them.

2.Improved planning cycles: situations can change very quickly, so you can adapt to changes in demand faster when you can run your planning cycles more frequently and you can get a real-time view of your demand and supply situation.

3. Smart factories and a digital supply chain: use Industry 4.0 technologies such as AI, IoT and advanced analytics for real-time insights and predictive modelling; increase collaboration and automate supply chain planning to deliver products faster and have a better control of your inventory.

4. Cloud-based solutions: increase your flexibility by making it easier for some of your employees to work from home, where possible, with manufacturing and planning solutions hosted in the cloud.

The right technologies can help manufacturing and logistics companies to weather the storm today and to lay down a platform for innovation so they can keep doing things in new and better ways. The companies who undertake projects today to improve their supply chain resiliency will be well prepared for growth as we all emerge from this pandemic.

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Digitise your global supply chain SAP technologies can help you to get a real-time view of actual demand across your supply chain and to help create real resiliency in your network. Talk to us to find out how we can help to digitise your global supply chain.


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